Nyctophobia 2014 was like stepping into a Lynchian nightmare where garbled sounds and blurred visuals gave way suddenly to eerie scenes that drove forward themes of loss, longing, regret and obsession. An interrogation scene managed to get under my skin without being intimidating, but by forcing eye contact while probing my thoughts on love and failure. I couldn’t help but feel vulnerable throughout the haunt, though a highlight was being guided through an open field with my vision impaired by scratched goggles.
While Nyctophobia deprived me of my senses to make me uneasy, it also directly assaulted them with great success. The smell… oh the smell of one gentleman I encountered inside the haunt… just awful. And this is coming from someone who lives in NYC (subways, cab drivers, hipsters!) If I was not thoroughly creeped out by the first 90% of the haunt, the ending climax was enough to push me over the edge with understated acting that ranks with the best that I’ve experienced.
Nyctophobia is an intense immersive experience, but the intensity comes from the subject matter, from playing with your senses, and from the terrific performances inside the haunt. It was never overly aggressive, nor did it rely on jump scares, but it was still one of the more affecting haunts of the 2014 season.
Nyctophobia’s 2014 Season
October 10 – October 26
Not appropriate for children. No one under 16 permitted. You must enter in pairs, but you will be separated.
What is Nyctophobia? Nyctophobia began as a haunted house and has grown into its own unique brand of immersive promenade theater. Every year it is completely different. We had the pleasure of visiting Nyctophobia in 2011 for its brick and mortar haunted house beginnings. (Read our review of Nyctophobia 2011.)
When we returned in 2012 for their invite-only event, we were thrilled to discover that Nyctophobia had become a story driven immersive theater experience. You had to enter alone and play an active part in the story. This required problem solving and following directions as a rookie investigator of a company called LI Ghosts, that was looking into the disappearance of a young girl. After an initial job interview, you were blindfolded and transported to an actual motel where a detective explained the case and directed you to the crime scene. Different motel rooms were used to create flashbacks and show you what had happened to the missing girl and a mysterious entity encountered in the restroom forcefully gave instructions on how to avoid a similar fate. A highlight was trying to steal a key from around then neck of a sleeping man. When he awoke, he chased you into the parking lot where the detective screamed for you to jump into a van to be whisked back to safety. There’s nothing like running for your life amongst complete strangers.
For 2013, Nyctophobia became a 4 person team experience. Each team drove to a starting location and then with the aide of clues and a map made their way to four nearby locations. Each location provided a piece of the story and your team had to put the clues together to figure out what happened. The various locations included a ghost photographer by the side of the road, a car abandoned near train tracks, a campsite in the woods, and a corpse dumped near a lake. A highlight was running through the woods trying not to attract the attention of blind zombie-like monsters. We encountered a little confusion trying to finding locations and debating clues with teammates, but overall we had a great time.
Nyctophobia continues to be one of the most unique haunted attractions in New York. Creator, Eric Striffler isn’t afraid to take risks and the ever-changing format is exciting and full of imagination. The interactive element combined with the fact that the actors can touch you makes for an unnerving and spine chilling experience. We can’t wait to see what they have planned for 2014.
Nyctophobia Haunted House is very hush-hush this year. A Confidential Guest List has been compiled for the 4-day Secret Event. All the spots have been filled, but Shhh… don’t cry. They will be awarding 2-Tickets to one very lucky reader of The Raven & Black Cat.
Only Enter If You Are Able To Attend:
WHAT: 2 Tickets to Nyctophobia
WHEN: Saturday, October 27th | Time Slots: 9:40pm & 9:50pm
WHERE: Suffolk County, NY / Long Island – The exact location will be revealed to the winner. (Here’s a hint: Exit 68 on the LIE and Exit 58 on Sunrise Highway)
Add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book, so we can notify you if you win.
The deadline to enter is 12:00 AM on October 23, 2012.